UCLA Bruins to Open Season
The Bruins finished 10-3 overall in 2014 and in a three-way tie for third in the South Division of the Pac-12
with a 6-3 record. UCLA faced 10 bowl eligible teams last season and posted a 7-3 record in those contests. Fourth-year head coach Jim Mora (29-11), who led the Bruins to victory in the Valero Alamo Bowl over Kansas State to match the school record for wins in a season (10-3) welcomes back 19 (8 defensive, 8 offensive, 3 specialists) returning starters.
Preview: Virginia at UCLA
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 5, 2015
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
LIne: UCLA -19.5 LIVE LINES
In 2014, redshirt junior Paul Perkins became the first Bruin to lead the Pac-12 in rushing since DeShaun Foster in 2001. His total of 1,575 yards rushing was the second-highest total in a season ever by a UCLA back. He ranked 15th in the NCAA in rushing yards (1,575), 16th in rushing yards per game (121.2) and 29th in the nation in all-purpose rushing (136.6). Perkins had six 100-rushing games, topped by a 194-yard performance in the bowl win over Kansas State. He also ran for 190 yards on 22 carries against Oregon and went for 180 yards at Colorado, including a 92-yard scoring run which tied for the second-longest in school history.
With Ucla’s Offensive line intact, expect the rushing game to be featured, while their passing gels.
The 2015 roster features 12 returning starters (five on offense, five on defense, plus two on special team. Virginia is facing UCLA for the second time in program history. UVa opened up the 2014 season at home to then-No. 7 UCLA and lost, 28-20.
Matt Johns finished spring football as the No. 1 signal caller for UVa. While Johns played well over half of the 2014 season-opening game against then-No. 7 UCLA, he will become the fourth-different starting quarterback the Cavaliers have had in four seasons (2012-15). Johns was the fifth-string quarterback in 2012, moved up to third string in 2013 and was the back-up in 2014. Johns made three starts in 2014 when Greyson Lambert was injured, going 2-1 with victories over Kent State and Pitt.
Despite finishing with a 5-7 record in 2014, UVa was close in all its game due to their rushing game. Virginia junior running back Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell is poised for a breakout season after backing up UVa’s No. 5 all-time rusher Kevin Parks the past two seasons. Mizzell led all ACC running backs in 2014 with 39 pass receptions. Mizzell, who battled a leg injury in 2013, has 109 career rushes for 464 yards and three touchdowns. A big pass-catching threat for UVa, Mizzell leads all returning Cavaliers with 68 career receptions. Mizzell averaged 23.1 yards per kick return in 2014 and has posted 555 career kick return yards as he watched Darius Jennings break the school record for kick return yards.
The Bottom Line: Last year’s close call at Virginia was a wakeup call for Ucla. Expect a blowout by the Bruins as they won’t take Virginia for granted again.
Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in September.
Cavaliers are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
Selection: Ucla -19